March 20, 2022
To everyone in our Husker community – welcome back from Spring Break!
Whether you had an opportunity to catch up with family and friends, catch up on some much-needed rest, or enjoy some sun, or maybe even some snow – I hope you enjoyed the chance to disconnect for bit and to come back refreshed and ready to finish the semester strong.
Two years ago, in 2020, our faculty spent Spring Break working tirelessly to shift all our classes at UNL to remote instruction. They, and our staff and students, continued to successfully navigate the ups and downs of this global pandemic.
It’s been a long two years. For many of you, this Spring Break may have been the closest you’ve felt to normal in what feels like a very long time.
At the beginning of this semester, we were bracing for a wave of new infections posed by the Omicron variant. Thank you to all of you – for testing, for getting vaccinated and boosted, for wearing a face covering, and for everything you did to help keep our community safe. We managed through that surge remarkably well, as we have during the entire pandemic, thanks to a lot of hard work, grace and goodwill.
Omicron has receded as rapidly as it sprung, and our country and the world are opening up to an extent we haven’t yet seen in the pandemic. And while the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, the CDC will continue to closely monitor any possibilities of a new wave.
That is wonderful, welcome news. And it’s an opportunity to safely let down some of the guardrails we’ve put up during the pandemic.
I know this may be unsettling for some. The threat of a potentially deadly virus has been part of our lives for two years.
Throughout the pandemic, we made our decisions to safeguard our campus based on science, data and the advice of our public health officials.
Science has given us many tools to fight this virus – effective vaccines, better monitoring and treatments to lessen the impact of the disease.
We will continue to be guided by the science, data and our public health experts.
In the near future, we expect Lancaster County to be able to move into a “Green” category, signifying a minimal risk of COVID-19.
At that time, any remaining requirements for face coverings in specific classroom settings will be lifted.
There still may be very valid reasons for someone to choose to wear a face covering. They may have a compromised immune system or live with someone who does. They may have a cold and simply not want someone else to get it. They may be part of a culture where mask-wearing, especially in cold and flu season, is widely accepted.
Whatever their choice, please continue to be respectful of their personal decision. And if someone asks you to wear a mask, please understand they have a good reason, and be thoughtful in your response.
We are in a very different place than we were two years ago, and thank goodness that we are!
And thank you for your goodness. We seek to be a university community where every person and every interaction matters. Nowhere has that been more evident than in our response to each other during this pandemic.
Once again – welcome back! Finish strong. And Go Big Red.
Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D.